Command & Conquer: Red Alert
- iPad £7.49
- iPhone £3.49
Just as with many pointer-based games, real-time strategy has found an ideal home on the iPad, with the bigger screen offering the kind of instant precision that's hard to pull off effectively on smaller touch-screen devices like the iPhone.
With that in mind, you'd imagine EA would have no problem converting any of its Command & Conquer games. In reality, Red Alert is the product of a developer still getting to grips with new technology, with an imprecise unit-selection system that's easily confused in the heat of battle. While touch-screen RTS gaming is way more playable than using a joypad, it's certainly no substitute for the real deal.
Is it a good port? Red Alert's arrival on iPad is certainly a more playable step up from the iPhone version, with its triple-touch selection system. Like so many iPad launch titles, though, the upscaled visuals aren't as detailed as they could be, and a version specifically designed for Apple's tablet would be infinitely better. Until this comes down in price significantly, you'd be advised to hold off on this one.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
- iPhone £2.39
Arriving completely out of the blue on the App Store earlier this year, Neversoft's 10-year-old classic is still regarded by many as the high point of the long-running series, if not one of the best games ever made.
For a game that demands absolute control precision, it's a bit of a stretch to try to replicate the game via an on-screen d-pad and buttons, but Activision somehow manages to pull of such an impressive feat without the usual game-breaking compromises.
Is it a good port? The PSone-era visuals are perhaps a little too faithful for their own good, and older iOS handsets struggle a tad with the frame-rate. If you happen to have a third gen or above, though, you'll be able to enjoy it as intended. The lack of multiplayer and a few soundtrack changes may irk some, but overall this is a surprisingly enjoyable conversion that old hands will get a lot out of.
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 points
Released so long ago, I wasn't even contributing to Eurogamer at the time, this rather forgotten and, let's be honest, rather forgettable Duke platformer made an unexpected appearance on XBLA a few weeks ago. Fuelled by Duke's inimitable putdowns, you leap across rooftops, blast mutant pigs in the face and seek out an array of rather pointless secrets. If it was considered a bit of a waste of everyone's time in 2002, it all looks rather embarrassing eight years on.
Is it a good port? What's left of 3D Realms has certainly done a serviceable job of bringing one of Duke's more obscure adventures to XBLA, but the art style, character models and environments had the shonkiness of a shareware title at the time, so seeing them run in high definition is hardly going to help. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
Metal Slug XX
- Xbox Live Arcade - 1200 points (£10.20)
- PSN (PSP) - £23.99(!)
Metal Slug games have always been specifically designed to embarrass hapless gamers like myself, with their vertical learning curves and endless procession of bullet-spewing enemies and screen-filling bosses. It's the platforming equivalent of bullet hell, meaning that to stand even half a chance of playing them properly you have to be supernaturally gifted at twitch gaming and pattern recognition.
Originally released as Metal Slug 7 on the DS back in 2007, Metal Slug XX's recent reappearance on PSP and XBLA gives everyone yet another opportunity to be ritually humiliated by this deceptively cuddly platform-shooter.
Is it a good port? Given SNK's admirable/foolish reluctance to move away from the series' sprite-based 2D roots, you'd expect nothing less than a perfect conversion, and that's what you get for the princely sum of 1200 Points. It doesn't scale well on gigantic tellies, and you must endure nasty 4:3 borders, but for the committed, that's all part of the authentic retro fun.
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